I was trying to turn off the television about 15 minutes – and it could happen if my wife, an immigrant committed to understanding our country for what she is, had not insisted on continuing . Many of my friends stopped early or never started.
This title, When they see us, was a conscious decision of DuVernay not to use the familiar shortcut for the case, "Central Park Five". That was the name of a documentary of 2012 who described the mania of condemning the five Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, who spent six to 13 years in prison in front of Matias Reyes, a serial murderer and rapist serving 33 years in prison perpetuity for other crimes, went on to confess. It was the only DNA found at the crime scene.
For the DuVernay mini-series, there would be no shortcuts, no attempt to make the horror somewhat familiar or routine. This time, the five young men would not be simply defended and justified, they would be seen. And when really seen, Salaam, McCray, Richardson, Santana and Wise become fully human. Although considering the instinct of many white spectators like me to look away, a slightly different title-If they see us-May also have a meaning.
I grew up At New York. I knew the history of Central Park Five. I knew that this case was later officially considered a miscarriage of justice. I was happy when New York City paid $ 41 million in restitution to the five adult men.
But had I "seen" them? I'm afraid not. And that's what brilliant color artists can do with a subject such as white artists can not bring to life an under-exposed world and make you look. More than just denouncing an injustice, the series explores the complex way in which these events unfold within the soul, the family, and the community.
For example, the absence of Korey Wise deprived her transgender sister, Marci, of an ally when their mother went back against her. Or how parents sometimes cut each other to protect their own sons. Or how Kevin Richardson's sister did not want to go out with her and be happy while her brother was in jail.
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These secondary intrigues make visceral injustice but do not follow a hagiographic script. They are not predictable and generate mixed feelings and divided loyalties. DuVernay was invited to tell this story by Santana, who made the suggestion in a 2015 tweet this included hashtags #wishfulthinking #fingerscrossed.
I explained in an interview That he had seen the DuVernay movie Selmaand appreciated the fact that she included a scene from Coretta Scott King confronting her husband about extramarital affairs. If she could be inflexible in front of an icon like Martin Luther King, the NYPD would have no chance. "It was daring to put in the movie," he said The New York Times. "It showed the human side of this man who had been put on a pedestal, and she said that she was not afraid to tell the truth."
The potential benefit of inclusion in the arts, politics and technology is not simply to find that an injustice has been committed and seek to correct it, but to see the injustice and to emphasize human issues and human unpredictability. reactions.
The other day Ev Williams, a co-founder of Twitter, seemed on the defensive about Twitter and the harassment and abuse it has allowed. He had been introduced to a segment of CNBC as a Silicon Valley leader who now thought that "social media is toxic". I did not share it long after on Twitter, was "Uh … WTF."
Granted, I went on to explain how using social media platforms is problematic, but "I continue to strongly believe that open platforms such as Twitter are important to society. And it is almost impossible to capture the good without getting it. And There is much to do (and do) to make these places (this place) more civil. "
Williams admitted some regrets, saying that Twitter should have spent more resources fighting harassment on the site. "I think we did more in the early days than we often deserve (and they do a lot more today)," he wrote in his alternative thread of defensive and self-critical tweets. "And personally, I underestimated the problem that loomed during my brief tenure as CEO." He then explained: "I was more aware of how people were as if I had been treated and / or had had a more diverse management team or board." may have made it a priority earlier. "
Watch When they see us That made me think of what various leaders might mean for Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Was it only to recognize harassment and abuse more quickly? In fact, neither Williams nor anyone else can predict what a more diverse management team would produce. There is only one way to know, it would be to have a more diverse management team. We will contact you about this.
What we know, by and large, is that Silicon Valley's monolithic management teams fail to understand the humanity of the people who use these platforms and the unpredictability of how these platforms shape society. The leaders of these companies do not reflect the society in which they operate and therefore do not understand the different ways in which their innovations unfold. They think they know what they're letting go in the world, but we've learned in the last ten years that they have no idea!
Williams finished his story by telling a dinner that he had with a famous (unnamed) person who was very unhappy with the abuse I suffered. "I felt for him," explained Williams. "We allowed people to be mean in a new and visible way that did not exist before – maybe as many people had these terrible views before, but they stayed in their heads or in their family (to infect the next generation of bigots.) Perhaps these views are exacerbated or even created by access to other assholes via the Internet. "
"Maybe," I continued, "they do not even have those views and just try to be seen by anyone because they have not received enough validation as children. I do not know We all have our dysfunctions. "
From Williams' point of view, only a dysfunctional person would need to be seen. I could not imagine that for so many people, being seen is the difference between being part of society or being excluded, even between life and death.
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